Blog posts

A very hungry caterpillar 9 June 2015

Last week a student of mine began experimenting with some lettuce plants as part of an extended essay to evaluate their suitability for a space mission to Mars. We were astonished to see that students... more

Final revision of SL topics 3 May 2015

There are many ways to revise for IB Biology exams and each student needs to find a system which works for them individually. However IB Biology has a lot of content, requires an understanding of many... more

A new way to role play! 22 February 2015

Role plays normally fill me with dread, but there is an easy way for everyone to enjoy them. Next time you want student to debate an issue in a Biology lesson make masks of famous biologists and put carefully... more

How to do better DNA experiments 6 February 2015

In the new IB guide there are many references to methods in biotechnology which appear to be impossible to do practically in the lab. DNA profiling, gel electrophoresis, genetic modification of plasmids,... more

Growing lettuce on mars 4 January 2015

Ten finalists remain in the MarsOne competition and "Lettuce on mars" from the university of Southampton could make a great introduction to an IB topic on photosynthesis. The NoS point in the IB guide... more

Christmas Biology lessons 17 December 2014

The last few teaching days before Christmas can be a challenge. Some students leave school early to travel to see their families. Those in school until the end of term are sometimes flagging in their... more

Impressions of the new Topic 9 - Plants 14 November 2014

The new plants topic is more appropriate for HL biology than the old one but it may take longer to teach. Some easy material has been removed. Knowing the difference between onions and potatoes was always... more

Cultivating curious observation 8 November 2014

On a recent visit to the Barcelona aquarium with my family I noticed a striking difference in the behaviour of my two sons. One, the eldest, wanted to see everything and to understand what the animals... more

Serendipity and Ecology fieldwork 18 October 2014

In May 2007 the first unequivocal proof that crocodiles shed tears while eating was published in Bioscience magazine although for many years the false remorse of hungry crocodiles has been legendary.... more

Extraterrestrial life in the new IB guide 21 September 2014

When I began teaching in 1991 I never dreamed that one day I'd be teaching about extraterrestrial life in a Biology lesson. I'm always keen to bring new research into lessons and I like looking for ways... more